Media Releases Aug 06, 2021

Under the still waters of today’s positive job numbers, an unsettled labour market: Canadian Chamber of Commerce


(OTTAWA) – August 6, 2021 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth, Leah Nord, issued the following statement regarding today’s Labour Force Survey numbers.

“Today’s headline jobs number looks good on the surface, to be sure, and it’s easy to focus on the good news. The disrupted undercurrents of the labour market, however, tell a very different story.

Not surprisingly, the attention is largely focused on the jobs regained after a year of labour market decimation and stagnancy. On the surface, it seems like a smooth transition as regions reach different stages of reopening. Just below the surface, however, the proverbial duck’s feet are struggling to make headway amid swirling undercurrents.

We’re seeing a number of counterproductive juxtapositions roiling the labour market waters. First, job vacancies across the spectrum are going unfilled, which is abnormal for this stage of economic rebound. This disconnect is partially explained by a widening skills mismatch, a significant number of people who have abandoned the search for a job and people migrating away from hard-hit sectors towards other industries. Combined, these factors will undermine a true recovery in the labour market for the foreseeable future.

At the same time, we are also seeing a significant disconnect between the expectations of Canadians and their employers as a return to the office looms. Many Canadians have re-prioritized their lives during the pandemic and are looking for hybrid work models, which businesses continue to explore while taking into consideration operational, health and safety, legal and other considerations. We expect the full impact of this underlying trend to be felt over the next 18 months, and it will have profound effects on how businesses compete for talent.

Today’s headline jobs number is enjoying its honeymoon period as COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen across Canada. The labour market’s rebound is seemingly testing the waters, but strong undertows will keep a true recovery in jobs stuck onshore with little sign of relief.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:
Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca